|Prime Minister in the cockpit of a Mig-29k fighter aircraft on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Saturday off Goa coast.
Goa: India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today sent out a strategic signal that would be watched keenly in capitals around the world especially in Islamabad and Beijing.
Modi today spent a day on board the sea-borne aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya. As he dedicated the warship to India, he chose the visit to tell the world what many small friendly countries were waiting to hear. India will now look to export Indian produced weapons to smaller countries. So far, New Delhi has avoided selling its own produce equipment to countries.
Addressing a group of officers and sailors on board the warship, Modi first discussed development of indigenous capabilities ensuring that India would not just be an importer of weapons, it will be self reliant and also export weapons. “Smaller countries across the world must be empowered by India and they must be sure of buying Indian equipment,” Prime Minister said.
Demands have come from several countries who cannot afford the costlier European, Russian or US made equipment, guns, platforms etc. and if Modi goes through with his promise, it will be a boon for the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU’s) owned by the Ministry of Defence.
Strategically, it will be watched by China that has emerged one of the top-five weapon exporters of the world. A report of the internationally respected think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI], released simultaneously on its website www.sipri.org and also at function at Munich, Germany, on January 31, 2014, said China has been found to be producing and selling 40 percent of all global weapons, arms, ammunition besides having quadrupled its military spending between the years 2000 and 2012.
The SIPRI had drawn up a list of ‘Top-100’ companies that had most arms sales in 2012. “Information is available on the 10 major state-owned conglomerates under which most of the Chinese arms industry is organized. These 10 companies had total sales of around 1608 billion yuan (US $268 billion)”, the report said.
Modi’s announcement will mean that radars made by Ministry of Defence owned public sector undertaking(PSU), the Bharat electronic Limited will be in huge demand. Trucks made by Bharat Earth Movers Limited, another MoD owned PSU, are also in demand so are several products like artillery guns of the 105 mm and 130 mm besides the INSAS rifles produced by Ordnace Factory Board.
The DRDO and the Hindustan Aeronauticsmited (HAL) have several products like the Dhruv helicopter that can be exported. Another ‘Made in India’ product, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia is in great demand.
To top it all, Modi’s address to this group of Navy-men on board the Vikramaditya was also a small technological step. A video camera beamed live pictures from the moving warship to the Naval satellite “Rukmini” which then sent the live-feed to Navy headquarters in New Delhi for further transmission to Dooordarshan which beamed it live. The uploading of video-stream from a moving warship to a satellite, was a first in the history of Indian Navy. This also shows that India is now capable of linking all its sea going and on land platforms and control centres through RUKMINI satellite. This capability will add a new dimension to force multiplication of Indian Navy.
Modi later spoke to officials and suggested to build maritime powers to ensure economic well being of the nation. He stressed upon building naval infrastructure and laid out a priority. The BJP-led NDA government in New Delhi had last week cleared the second phase of project sea-bird at Karwar, located south of Goa.
Once completed, this base will have a facility to hold 30 warships and submarines to take care of any threat from the adversary in the western front of India.
Modi was on board the 44,500 tonne Russian built carrier as the ship was sailing in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Goa.
He witnessed an air power demonstration by Naval planes, including the MiG-29K fighter jets and helicopters. The day was spoilt by intermittent rain leading to several interruptions in the fly-past.
Terming the addition of INS Vikramaditya into the Navy as a ‘golden chapter’, Modi said it was a gift to strategic capability. The warship was commissioned by Congress-led UPA in Russia in November and was declared operational on May 7.